A Day-Trip from Dar Es Salaam to Mikumi National Park. Around the back of the Dar Es Salaam airport we found a very smart-looking private charter company terminal and hangers, which contrasted strongly with the rest of the decrepit-looking airport. The operation was owned and run by a Canadian guy married to a Tanzanian. One of his 10-seater Cessnas took us on a 50-minute flight to Mikumi National Park about 150 miles inland to the west where we landed on a grass airstrip (Landing is Mainly Recommended during Dry Season) and immediately began a game drive. The park consists largely of flat, lightly timbered savannah and contains a good selection of game. We saw many impala, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, hippopotamus and elephants (including a baby born that morning waddling along after his mother).We managed to get close to a majestic pride of seven lions lazing in the shade of a large acacia, and we spotted a few red buck, a lone warthog, a couple of eland, and a clan of six evil-looking spotted hyenas.
We took a break from the game drive in the middle of the day to sit by a waterhole in one of the four camps in Mikumi, and enjoyed a cold Kilimanjaro Beer and a simple lunch. In the strong mid-day sun this tranquil spot was quiet and still, and hardly a creature stirred other than the butterflies.
The park also has good bird life, and we identified lilac-breasted and Abyssinian rollers, marabou stork, hammerkops, red bishops, egrets, a hornbill and several other species. The park staff are welcoming, friendly, and very knowledgeable.